LiveDUP leadership contest - Edwin Poots beats Sir Jeffrey Donaldson by two votes to be declared new DUP leader

Edwin Poots has beaten Sir. Jeffrey Donaldson by two votes to be declared the new leader of the DUP.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 5:38 pm
Updated Friday, 14th May 2021, 8:20 pm

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New DUP leader, Edwin Poots, pictured with new deputy DUP leader, Paula Bradley.

LIVE UPDATES: DUP leadership race - Edwin Poots declared new leader of the DUP

Last updated: Friday, 14 May, 2021, 18:09

Edwin Poots declared new leader of the DUP and Paula Bradley declared deputy leader

Edwin Poots, MLA, has beaten Sir. Jeffrey Donaldson by two votes to be declared the new leader of the DUP.

Paula Bradley, MLA, has been declared the new deputy leader.

New leader of the DUP, Edwin Poots.

Reacting to his election, Mr Poots, who recently underwent cancer surgery, said: “It is an immense honour and pleasure to stand here today in this position, it is not a position that I expected to be in some weeks ago. However, things can change quite radically.”

He added: “I’m looking forward to a positive relationship right across Northern Ireland with my party colleagues and indeed with people from other parties.

“I think the opportunities for Northern Ireland are great, the opportunities for us to make Northern Ireland a great place after this 100 years has passed and we move into a new 100 years.”

Mr Poots praised the “resilience” of Northern Ireland people through the first 100 years of its existence.

“It’s that resilience that we are going to go forward and make Northern Ireland a good place,” he said in an address at party headquarters in east Belfast.

“My father was a founder member of the DUP some 50 years ago, and I joined after the death of the Reverend Robert Bradford MP in 1981 and throughout all of that period this party has been the authentic voice of unionism and will continue to be the authentic voice of unionism under my leadership.”

Mr Poots praised the “resilience” of Northern Ireland people through the first 100 years of its existence.

“It’s that resilience that we are going to go forward and make Northern Ireland a good place,” he said in an address at party headquarters in east Belfast.

“My father was a founder member of the DUP some 50 years ago, and I joined after the death of the Reverend Robert Bradford MP in 1981 and throughout all of that period this party has been the authentic voice of unionism and will continue to be the authentic voice of unionism under my leadership.”

‘It’s a secret ballot and that’s the way it should stay’ - Sammy Wilson refuses to say who he voted for

Jim Wells, MLA, who had had the whip removed in Stormont, was permitted to vote in the leadership election.

East Antrim DUP MP Sammy Wilson has arrived at party headquarters in Belfast to cast his vote for the next leader.

He declined to say whether he would be voting for Sir Jeffrey Donaldson or Edwin Poots.

“It’s a secret ballot and that’s the way it should stay,” he said.

He said it was important that there was a choice for those voting.

“It shows that there is a choice for those who have got the right to vote to have that choice and I think that there is a good choice between the two candidates and we will see who wins,” he said.

“I think everyone has thought long and hard about this one, it’s the first time we have had a choice and I think that both candidates have merits. It’s a secret ballot and it will remain secret and even after it is all over it will remain secret. Well, my vote will anyhow.”

He added Northern Ireland faces huge economic problems in the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic as well as the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“We have to find our way through for the good of consumers and businesses in Northern Ireland. That’s what will unite us, fighting for the people of Northern Ireland, not fighting amongst ourselves,” he said.

Arlene Foster casts her vote for ‘person who will bring DUP forward’

Leadership candidate, Edwin Poots.

Arlene Foster has voted in the election to replace her as DUP leader.

Briefly speaking to the media as she left party headquarters after casting her ballot, outgoing First Minister Mrs Foster said: “I voted for the person who will bring the Democratic Unionist Party forward and I think that’s very obvious.”

The story of the vote so far...

DUP MLA, Paul Frew.

By 1pm, 19 DUP politicians had voted.

As he arrived at headquarters, South Belfast MLA Christopher Stalford, who is supporting Mr Poots, said: “I think it’s going to be a good day, a good day for democracy inside the Democratic Unionist Party.”

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley said his father, the party’s founder, would be “immensely proud” that a democratic election was deciding the next leader.

“It’s a party that my dad founded with the name democracy in it and this is a democratic decision,” he said.

“At last the members, the elected members, are deciding who their leader is.

“That’s a very important decision and I know he would be immensely proud of that today.”

Edwin Poots answers questions from the media after cast his vote.

Edwin Poots was non-committal as he left party headquarters.

Asked what the mainstay of his leadership pitch was, Mr Poots said “reform”.

It is understood Paul Frew has withdrawn from the deputy leadership contest.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson was in confident mood as he left DUP headquarters after making his online pitch for votes.

“Feeling good,” he told waiting reporters as he left with DUP MP and deputy leadership contender Gregory Campbell.

Security alert at NI primary school ends as PSNI declare incident a hoax

A security alert that forced the closure of a primary school on Friday morning has been declared a hoax by the PSNI.

Finaghy Primary School was forced to close after an individual reportedly contacted Crimestoppers and said a “device was in the vicinity of the school”.

The principal of the school was able to contact staff and parents early to inform them that the school would be closed for all of Friday.

PSNI Superintendent Gillian Kearney condemned whoever was responsible for the incident.

“Police, along with Ammunition Technical Officers, attended Finaghy Primary School this morning, following a report that a device had been left in the area of the school.

“This incident has been declared a hoax.

“An investigation is ongoing and we are following lines of enquiry.

“The individual, or individuals responsible for this incident will have caused great upset and distress to the school and community.

“Young schoolchildren and their parents have already been affected by disruption over the last year and this is the last thing they, the teachers and staff needed to contend with.”

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